Trump says he wore a mask 'backstage' at the Honeywell facility, further showing how oddly similar the event was to his campaign rallies

Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadPresident Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at Honeywell International Inc. in Phoenix.
  • President Donald Trump, on Wednesday, said he wore a face mask for part of his visit to the Honeywell facility on Tuesday.
  • The President said, he had a mask on “backstage” when there were no cameras rolling.
  • A Honeywell spokesperson said Trump and visitors were tested for the coronavirus prior to the visit and were allowed to not wear masks.
  • However, some were critical of Trump’s usage of the word “backstage” as well as the music that played that made the event reminiscent of a Trump rally.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he, in fact, did wear a mask while visiting the Honeywell facility in Phoenix, Arizona,CNN reported.

“Well, you don’t need one in this territory. And as you know, we were far away from people, from the people making the masks,” Trump, said of his tour of Honeywell, NBC News reported.

Trump later added: “I can’t help it if you didn’t see me, I mean, I had a mask on.”

According to NBC News, Trump said he had at least four masks with him during the visit.

Trump and his entourage were photographed at the facility, which makes masks, on Tuesday without masks, but he said he wore a mask “backstage” and was told he was not required to wear the mask.

“I had a mask on for a period of time,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Wednesday, according to CNN. “I had it on back – backstage. But they said you didn’t need it, so, I didn’t need it. And by the way, if you noticed, nobody else had it on that was in the group.”

A Honeywell spokesperson previously told Business Insider that “these people had received negative COVID-19 test results immediately prior to the visit and had been allowed not to wear masks.”

“All others present were wearing masks and social distancing in accordance with Honeywell’s site policy,” the spokesperson told Business Insider.

The event also featured music reminiscent of what’s typically played at a Trump rally – a Guns N’ Roses version of “Live and Let Die,” as well as Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” and “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor was played at the event.

According to CNN’s Chris Cillizza, Trump’s use of the term “backstage” shows that he was looking at his tour as if it were a TV appearance.

“As in, when he went on stage – meaning, in this context, where there were TV cameras rolling and photographers taking his picture – he didn’t wear the mask,” Cillizza wrote. “Which raises a simple question: Why? After all, if he had one on at some point, why not just leave it on as a way to model proper behaviour to the public?”

Trump previously said that he would not wear a mask when asked at a press briefing in early April – the same day that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the public wear cloth masks or face coverings.

“Remember that Trump views his entire presidency through the lens of television – mostly reality TV and cable news. He is very, very focused on how he is portrayed and perceived. And he wants the image that the public gets of him to be that of a strong and fearless leader. Which, in his mind, does not include wearing a mask when he is, uh, on stage,” Cillizza wrote.

However, others have been critical that Trump’s refusal to wear masks, despite the CDC recommendations, saying it has led to confusion.

“At the very least, it confuses people,” K. “Vish” Viswanath, a professor of health communication at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told Bloomberg. “At the very worst, it might even cause them to question if these rules apply to them or if the message is really that critical.”

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence was criticised for also not wearing a mask on a Mayo Clinic visit, but later apologised and said he should have worn a mask.

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